Benefits of Cohort Studies
Cohort studies or panel studies are forms of observational studies that are mainly used in social science, ecology and medicine. They basically involve an examination of the risk factors while following people who are not affected by a certain disease. They use correlations so as to establish the risk of contraction. These kinds of studies are mostly about life histories of parts of populations. Undertaking cohort studies offers the following benefits.
1. Determine risk factors
The clear advantage of doing cohort studies is the fact that it assists to establish the risk factors related to the contraction of a certain ailment. Since it is fundamentally an observation of people over time, with data collection at regular intervals, it reduces recall error. It helps to distinguish true causality and it normally demands further substantiation from other experimental trials. The results obtained from a cohort study are viewed like the best results in observational science.
2. Test multiple outcomes
Cohort studies allow the assessments of multiple outcomes in one study. This is due to the numerous numbers of individuals who can be included in a cohort. Subgroups in the cohort could also be compared to each other, further allowing multiple assessments. For instance, a heart study may be used for examining multiple outcomes, aside from only heart disease.
3. Study uncommon exposures
Cohort studies may be utilized for studying relatively uncommon exposures. Since the exposure is normally determined first in these studies, cohort studies may be designed specifically to ascertain that there is a sufficient number of both unexposed and exposed subjects at the onset. This reduces the chances of encountering exposure suspicion preference in a well-formulated cohort study.
The drawback of cohort studies is that they are can be easily affected by factors that the investigators may not have total control over. Findings from such studies are thus more likely to fact threats of legitimacy as compared to those using the experimental design.